Irma — the day after

Irma is gone, and I am glad of it. Thing is she came in, destroyed as she entered and then again as she left, and then went north to wreck havoc some more. She was not a welcomed guest. Down here in Florida we love our sunshine, our warm days, our friends and family to visit, and our trips to the water to watch for dolphins, sharks, sandcrabs, and then to gather shells the tides bring in. We understand that it is going to rain, mostly every day for 5, 10 or 15 minutes when that dark cloud passes by. We appreciate that rain, that is how we are so green down here in Florida. And we can take wind sometimes, but not like Irma. No, no, Irma was not welcomed.

But I did learn a lot about Irma. I learned that I am exactly where I should be. I moved here because of location and the safety factor. Irma gave me one more reason to know I am safe right here. When I first moved I thought maybe I did not make the correct choice, maybe I should be living closer to the water. Nope. I am good. I am only 40 minutes to the sand, 20 minutes to the bay to watch those spectacular sunsets, or to catch a ray on the bay’s beach area. Twenty minutes puts me out of an evacuation zone, puts me out of a flood zone.

Oh, I believe I had an entire team praying for me last night and for Irma to lessen in strength. The prayers worked, and I thank everyone. Everyone. By the time Irma worked her way up the state of Florida, I watched and prayed and hoped she would change from her Category 3 hurricane. She did. She was a Cat 1 by the time she got my way. Not only that, after a bottle of wine and a dozen chocolate chip cookies, she veered to the East and missed that I-75 exit she was suppose to make. She was heading straight toward me before she slanted to the East.

I was prepared, though. I moved everything inside, boarded my window (remember with cardboard and duct tape), secured my thresholds of each door (they said the bugs would come in), and filled my freezer with ice and my frig with water. I cooked some food in case I was out of electricity. I put everything I would have needed for 12 hours in my master bathroom (my safe room) including a chair and ottoman to sleep on. I was ready.

What really happened was different. I never lost electricity ( I learned that our electrical cables are buried underground) and I watched Irma as she headed toward me, but I did take a break from Irma and watched Aunti Mame because my nerves couldn’t watch Irma every second, not even with the wine and cookies. I never heard the sounds of a train coming through my house (that is what I was told Irma would sound like), and on her tail, I turned off the tv and went to bed instead of sleeping in the chair.

You don’t have to tell me that I am one lucky girl. I know.

20170911_142120So, this morning I looked out the window and it was windy. Too windy to clean up the yard. I walked outside, and I could tell the palm trees took a beating last night, but in actuality, the street did not look that bad.

Then I took a good look at my beautiful plant that surrounds the light pole.

 

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Kinda sad.

But tomorrow, when the sun shines bright it will be back to where it was.

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Or bigger and better. That’s what we will do here in Florida. Be back, bigger and better than ever.

So long Irma. You are not welcomed back …

 

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Irma — Sunday

This is it folks. It is raining now, but not bad and there is wind but not bad. At noon EST the winds are to pick up — that is an hour from now. At 4 p.m. we will start feeling the wind from Irma and it will continue until 4 p.m. Monday. 24 hours. The actual Irma is to be felt around 2 a.m. After she leaves comes the storm surges. I plan to go to my safe room about 8 p.m. or sooner if I do not feel secure roaming around the house. As I speak, Irma’s winds are at 125 mph. Depending on where she hits land and when will depend on how or low my winds will become. I am not by water, not in an evacuation zone, so the only water I am going to get is from the rain — and that is suppose to be 12 inches before and during Irma. I think, I think I heard there will be another 12 inches after Irma.

I am as ready as I can be. I do not plan to come out of my safe room until Monday a.m. to access any damage. Hope and pray not, please. And if so, not that it will damage the inside of my house.

It would be wonderful if I did not lose power, but I doubt that hope. If I do have power I will write, and if I can on Monday, I will take some pictures without going out into the streets.

Also, after Irma starts, I am going to go to FB every hour and say I am safe. If I miss an hour, I hope I am taking a nap, but I have been told I will not be able to nap.

Now, I am turning off my computer and unplugging it. Say a prayer.

Until next time…have a great day…

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Irma — Saturday

I need a break from all this work, so here I am contemplating hurricanes. It is just so strange knowing that in a mere 24 hours all is going to change. This time tomorrow the wind will have increased and the last of the last minute chores will be completed.

Right now, the car and garage are secure. The small room attached to the screened lanai has been secured. You will never believe what I did to secure this! This is the window that I am iffy about, and since I did not have boards installed on my windows, I took cardboard and duct taped it to the window then pulled the blinds shut. I will check the duck tape tomorrow. But I figured that since I have seen people riding around with duct tape on their bumper, I could use it for cardboard for the window. That is the only window I am concerned about and the only one I did that to. I will let you know how strong this duct tape really is!!!

The bathtub is filled with water, the clothes are clean, the dishes are clean, some of the food is cooked, the cooler is filled with ice. I think I am progressing. After I finish with this, I am going to secure the enclosed lanai. I have already cleared the room out (except for the fireplace) but I want to reinforce the threshold. This may be a weak spot for water to creep in, and if it does I don’t want it to be much. If that is the case, so be it, the water would still have to get high enough to get into the main living quarters before my living area would get wet. What I am going to do to the threshold is to cover it with plastic, reinforced with duct tape, then a towel, reinforced with duct tape, then more plastic, reinforced with duct tape. I have also been told that that is a very good idea because afterward, all the bugs and God’s creatures (yes, snakes too) will be looking for a place to get out of the rain. Didn’t think about that!

Well, that takes care of that. I am also going to do the same to my back door that leads to the garage and to the front entry. I do not like bugs.

There is just so much to learn about with this type of preparation. This one will teach me what I need to do to prepare for the next one and to make the preparation easier. Once I learn how to secure my home, I will probably take a vacation during other hurricanes, but I do need to learn exactly what to do. Every house is different, and I need to find out how sound this house is.

There is a story about the area that I live in that the Indians settled here because it was higher grounds (true, I am not in a flood zone) and safe from natural disasters. I will buy that story, it sounds good to me.

I am tired, and I have a lot of “stuff” to do, so this won’t be long. The skies are blue, a bit of a nice breeze outside, most everything is closed so I would imagine there are not many people on the streets. Hurricane Irma’s strength is now registered as 125 mph, a category 3 hurricane. That is GOOD news, but I want it even better. Bad news is there is something happening in the waters near the panhandle that could affect the hurricane and whatever it is is bad. Don’t understand a lot of that yet, and I only heard that once, so maybe I heard it wrong. I hope I did.

I want to explain what happens to a house during the different categories of a hurricane. This applies to mobile homes, framed houses, apartment houses and shopping centers. In a category 5, well, we have seen that. Basically everything is ruined. Category 4 — severe structural damage to the dwellings and should be out of power for up to a few months. Category 3 with winds ranging from 111 to 130 mph will see destruction of mobile homes, significant structural damage to framed houses with destruction to those house that are not built well. No water or power for up to several weeks. Category 2 with winds of 96 to 110 mph will also see significant damage to framed houses, mobile homes and shopping centers. Also, there will be a lot of damage due to flying debris breaking windows and roofs being blown off. I am hoping for this one instead of a Cat 3. In Category 1 the winds are 74-95 mph and there will be some damage to structures as well as power outages. Now, throw in the tornadoes that go along with the hurricanes, and, well, in a day or so, I am going to be experiencing some weather I have never seen before.

As I’ve said before, I hope my roof stays on, by windows do not get broken, the water does not get in my living area and my doors stay shut. That’s all I am hoping for. The rest I can handle.

The winds have started in Miami and the Keys. Hang on, folks, it’s coming….

Until next time…I will write until I can’t…gotta run, lots to do.

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Irma — Friday

I have listened to the weather so much that I am now freaked. I am second guessing myself, and it is too late. But, I should not second guess myself because I looked at all the facts when I made the decision. I am not in an evacuation zone, I am not in a flood zone, my house is made of concrete blocks, I have one half of the house with hurricane windows, and basically everyone here, where I live, is staying.

Actually, they couldn’t get out if they wanted to. A couple people did try. They shuttered their house, packed their car and headed to I-75. And after sitting there for a couple of hours going nowhere they individually made the decision to turn their car around and come back to endure the storm. And today they started the mandatory evacuations for Tampa.

I just have to remember what I told my students about second guessing — don’t do it. Your first answer to the question is more than likely the correct one. And it usually is. So, Mary, quit freaking yourself out. The tv is off! At least for a couple of hours. As if the news on the storm will change that much in a few hours. It’s not until a bit later when it will tell if it’s going to go to Miami or Naples for the bad part. Then, it is almost certain it is going to come straight up the state. Actually, even though I am in more jeopardy for that route, if it does come up the middle, the land should reduce the strength of the storm. I believe I saw that by the time it hits Tampa it will be 115 mph winds. Yes, that is kinda unbelievably bad, but it is better than 185 mph and going out to the Atlantic to gain more speed to hit the East Coast again and again. They will get enough wind without being battered again. So wish me luck!

It’s really a strange feeling here. I look out the window, do some errands, and the weather is beautiful — blue skies, warm, humid (now the humidity is a joke, don’t like all the humidity) — just a beautiful day. And I know within 48 hours it is going to change in a nano second. And it will continue that weather with rain for 72 hours. And if I am lucky, I will have a roof, a house, a home to lay my head. If I am lucky, I will volunteer to help with the disaster. We can go on a site and sign up, I just need to make sure my home is still standing first.

My nephew calls me every day with encouragement and tips. He knows all about hurricanes, he has lived through some pretty bad ones in Myrtle Beach. I thank him for the calls and his encouragement. He said he was proud that I decided to stay, and then he laughs and says if mom (my sister) could hear you now she would be laughing — here you left Illinois to get out of the bad winter storms and now you are going through more storms. That’s okay. I’d rather take a good hurricane or two in my Florida lifetime than fight the cold, ice, and blizzards every year for 3,4, 5 months. Every year. And going through this one, which so happens to be a doozy, I will definitely know what I need for the next one.

I’m nearly ready. All supplies bought. Clothes clean, baking chicken as I type, and most everything is put up or away. The good thing about all this is I was going to hire someone to help me with a “spring” clean. I don’t think it will need to be done, because with everything up and away, I can give it a good cleaning before I put everything away. I think tomorrow I am going to put cardboard (thanks, Betty, for that idea) over one of my lanai windows, bring the chair into my designated room, and hopefully, get one more good night’s sleep before the wind event, as what the announcer said, and then wait.

Vince told me it should last about 4 hours. After that I will go out of my designated room and look behind the closed drapes.

If you are going to pray, pray for not losing electricity (can you imagine how hot it will get after a few days), that I have a roof, and that I do not get any water in the house. Of course, my safety.

When I write tomorrow, we will know which way it will head. So, pray for that electricity. I need that to write.

You know I was thinking about all the “stuff” that is going on in our neck of the woods — hurricane Harvey, hurricane Irma, Katria, Jose and the other one forming in the Atlantic near Africa, the 8.1 earthquake in southern Mexico, the wildfires (they are horrible folks, I think I read that 1 million acres has been affected so far — a million — have you ever seen the aftermath of a forest fire. I have and it is exceedingly sad), and the early fall that is coming “up north”. I think it has to do with the eclipse. I betcha. But then again, it’s a hunch, nothing to do with science. Just a hunch.

Until tomorrow…I hope…

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Irma — Thursday

21368827_10210248706713545_2160301446141624680_oEvacuations started Wednesday from Monroe County, FL. That is the county where the Keys are located. This is a picture of the cars someone took and posted on FB. I got the picture from a friend who it was sent to, and asked if I could use it to show my readers. This is what it looked like on I-75 northbound from south Florida to at least Ocala, which is north of Tampa and the Villages. A long distance, especially to not go anywhere or to go a mile an hour.

I know about that traffic. I have been there, done that, don’t want to do it again. People get in fender benders, cars overheat and run out of gas. People are scared, frustrated, and tempers flare when they really don’t want to. They want to help their fellow man, but this is panic time folks. And it’s real. And tempers flare. And plans get changed.

I have a friend who lives in south Florida who has a son who lives in Naples. Her son decided to take his family to North Carolina before the onset of traffic (he left Tuesday) and my friend was suppose to go there, too. Well, sometimes plans do not work according to what we want, and she, her husband and another son were in the car headed toward N.Carolina when there was a car problem. Now, they are huddled in a motel room in southern Georgia. No doubt, they needed to get out of south Florida, but I am sure they are more than frustrated.

I do see there is a plan in Florida. Yesterday it was mandatory evacuations for Monroe County and parts of south Florida. Today and tomorrow, Miami/Dade County and probably Ft. Lauderdale/Broward County and Palm Beach/Brevard County (I think that is the county). Then, there are other things happening — the cruise ships are in port NOW in both Port Canaveral and Port Everglades in Miami and leaving off passengers ahead of time. I believe I saw where the last plane leaves Miami on Friday. Those who can are bringing their boats in. Those who have those big boats, well, they can’t save them, they can’t get them out of the water because of their size and they can’t go north because they will be going with the hurricane, and they can’t go south because that is where the hurricane is, so… I can’t even imagine what Biscayne Bay in the Miami area will look like in a couple of days.

That is all on the east coast of Florida, and only up to Jupiter, Cocoa Beach (which is where Kennedy Space Center is located). Oh, they are closing KSC today, tying down what they can.

Now, for my side, the west side. Supposedly, we will not get the brunt of the storm (someone called it a wind event, and I almost peed my pants with that term — a wind event –) but we are preparing because really who knows what is really going to happen.

St. Petersburg and the beaches and the surrounding areas is Pinellas County, and Bradenton/Amelia Island is Manatee County. Guess what, there is a mandatory evacuation for those in Zone A, on the coast. Bascially, that is all of Pinellas County, but Bradenton has other zones. Amelia Island, not so lucky. Those evacuations have started or are going to start tomorrow morning.

I’m still staying…

I have a designated room that I plan to sit in. I don’t really want to see the wind; anyway, we are not to be by windows, and I say that even if they are hurricane windows — but I might open my drapes to snap one photo. Not up close though.

I have been out and about going about my regular life all week. What I have noticed is no batteries, anywhere. No water, anywhere (has anyone ever thought of tap water and water pitchers?), and gas is running low. The governor has even gone on tv and asked people to get only as much gas as they need so those who are leaving will have the gas. Yeah, right, I can see that happening. One lady in ceramics waited in line at Walmart for gas, and when she got close, the attendant came out with a sign, “out of gas”. Then she went to Racetrack. Same scenario. But she did find gas. Me, I had my gas last weekend.

The good news. There is none. But, the wind is now 175 mph instead of 185 mph. What I have learned is about the speed of the hurricane. When it is fast moving, as this one is, it comes in destroys everything, then leaves, but what it does do is not to have as big of surges as those who just hang around (which is what Harvey did to Houston). Good news, nah, just a hiccup in the storm of storms.

The bad news. It is suppose to hit Miami, Jupiter, then go up to Georgia (Savannah) and batter Georgia, South Carolina (I have a feeling Hilton Head is going to get hit again) and Charleston before going to North Carolina (that is Wilmington). In other words, the entire eastern coast is going to be hit. Other bad news. Jose. Not for us, but the Leeward Islands are going to get hit again. There won’t be anything left after these two storms.

Right now, I need to sign off, finish my laundry and start bringing in the furniture from outside. The rain is going to start tomorrow afternoon. But it usually rains every afternoon on the west side of Florida, but I think it will continue with this one. I guess I will see. I don’t need to go out for anything, but I think I might tomorrow morning, because it might be my last day out for a very long time.

What I am expecting. Lots of wind, rain, power outages (but I am really hoping not for long on this one) and simply getting through this. I am really looking forward to this, not because I want it, I want it to hurry up, come, and get out. If we have to have it, let’s get it over with…

Until tomorrow…say a prayer…

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Irma

I am going to do something a bit different for the next few days. I am going to talk about the approaching Irma.

I live in Florida, close to Tampa but inland about 6 miles from the bay. I am not in an evacuation zone nor a flood zone, and my house is built with stone blocks. I have a few hurricane windows (they are expensive) and feel relatively safe. The window man and I talked about hurricane panes for the lanai sliders and we decided that after my house is exactly the way I want, I will install hurricane shutters on the inside of the lanais. It just so happens that Irma is coming sooner than my finishing all I want done to my house. So, I decided to stay, in spite of not having the hurricane shutters on my lanais.

I am lucky enough that many people have inquired about me and my safety, offered their home if I wanted to leave, but I’m staying.

I feel that I am as prepared as anyone can be. I have water, food, flashlights, batteries, the necessities to live without electricity for up to and probably longer than a week. My only real concern is that it will get hot in the house after days of no electricity. I know, just Sunday my air quit working and it was diagnosed Monday with needing a new motor. Problem solved on Tuesday. But, I had the overhead fans, and they, along with not opening up any curtains, not turning on many lights, not running anything to generate heat did keep the temperature at 78. It was 83 during the day. So, I am a bit concerned about that.

In talking with people, I learned that there are battery operated fans. Too late for me trying to find those for Irma. But, you can bet I will have a couple for next time.

I am also concerned that water may seep through into my lanais because those floors are even with the earth. The screened one, okay, all that furniture will be removed. The enclosed one, well, I will put everything up the best I can. Not much is out there, now, anyway. That is where I am painting the furniture.

Still lots to do. I want all my clothes washed. If we lose electricity, I know I want clean clothes, specifically, underwear. I need to fill the refrigerator, freezer, cooler and bathtub with ice and water, respectively. I need to pack the bag, just in case. And then put all important papers in a plastic bag. And what is really crazy is that I feel that I need to clean my house like I do before I leave on a trip! And I’m staying…

And that’s just me. The people outside; well, they are just crazy. In panic mode. Really, PANIC. I’ll talk about them tomorrow.

And I keep watching the reports. Now, it is veering a bit east, but we’re not really going to know for a couple of days. Then, we’ll know. And Irma is so big, it doesn’t make any difference where you are in Florida, you are going to hear her.

Then, Jose is following. Not concerned with him, yet….

Tomorrow, more of the same of my observations and preparations for the Mother of all Mothers….

Did I say….I’m staying….

 

 

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Rain, Rain, Go Away

Remember those fun childhood rhymes:

Rain, rain, go away, come again some other day, Little Mary (add any name you want here) wants to play.

or

It’s raining, it’s pouring, the old man is snoring….

Well, come to find out the man hit his head and then went to bed and couldn’t get up in the morning. Then his wife did the same, and she couldn’t get up in the morning neither. Then, the kids did the same, and they couldn’t get up in the morning either. Something is going on here, and it doesn’t look good. Obviously, the old man, his wife, and the kids all had sleep apnea — you know, the snoring thing…

Back in the day when the rhyme was written, they didn’t know anything about sleep apnea, and they didn’t know much about hitting your head and then going to bed. Looks like a brain injury to me…

Anyway, the rain was coming down, and the old man, his wife, and kids all hit their head while going to bed, and that is the end of the rhyme. I think it needs an investigation, and of course, an autopsy, and how are you going to explain this to the rest of the family? I think all family members should be getting checked out for sleep apnea, and then the house needs to be looked at carefully because all those people hit their head and then they went to bed…Oh, this is a mess.

Rain does get a bad rap. Personally, I don’t mind the rain — I come from the North and I do mind the snow, sleet and blizzards, so, shoot, rain is a breeze to me. Still, though, it gets a bad rap.

raingirlListen to what the Carpenters say about rain: Rainy Days and Mondays Always Get Me Down — great depressing song to play on a rainy day or a Monday.

Then, there is the Eurythmics who sing Here Comes the Rain Again.

“Here comes the rain again, falling on my head like a memory, falling on my head like a new emotion.”

Actually, the rain symbolizes melancholy coming in and going out — and then David Stewart, writer and team mate with Annie Lennox, revealed that he was writing the lyrics and they had a fight and then she went to the window and it was beginning to rain, and said “Here comes the rain again”. Ah, such simplicity to title such a great song.

Bobby Vinton sings about rain, too. He sings about a childhood sweetheart who breaks up with him when he is away at college, and she is going to marry another, in Rain, Rain, Go Away.

Like I said, rain gets a bad rap, but I kinda like it. There’s nothing greater than sitting next to a window watching the rain come down. No, not driving in it, simply sitting there with a nice cup of coffee or a glass of wine (depending on the time of day) and watching the rain come down.

Enjoy…

 

 

 

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